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Marathon day blunders? How to not cock it up

April 06, 2017

Marathon day blunders? How to not cock it up

Dear Marathon Runner,

I sincerely want you to succeed and want to remind you of that old saying and provide some advice.

This saying has been attributed to both Winston Churchill and Benjamin Franklin,  I never met either of them, but I do agree with the intention.  

 

Lots of marathon runners contact me asking for advice on their marthon fuelling, and asking is a great first step. I've pasted below what I generally advise, there are lots more specifics you can think about, I think this provides a good general over view.

 

 

Hi Lucy

Thanks for your note, wish I was running , you are going to have such a great time.
Here's some brief suggestions and key points, bear in mind everyone is different and what works for one, doesn't neccesarily work for you. So keep trying different things until you settle on something that works for you.
This is aimed at a 3 to 5 hour road marathon runner average weight say 75-80kg.
You are likely to be able to absorb no more than 250-350 calories per hour comfortably during endurance exercise.
  • The faster you run, less likely you are going to be able to chew / bite, I'd say if you were doing 2.45 marathon or faster, the flapjacks will have limited appeal during the race, as you'll be running too fast to be able to chew much.
  • A large Chia Charge flapjack is around 340-378 calories, so during the race, you could  eat a maximum of1 per hour, but more likely a maximum 2 to 3 bars over 4 hours.
  • I would take 1 or 2 bars combined with other stuff, depends if you are carrying a bum bag, pockets etc. as to what you can carry.
Hopefully you have practised using your gear and carrying stuff in training.
I'd suggest you practise the following race fuelling strategy , but very importantly practise this every time you go for a long run during your training, This way you find out what works for you.
Day before the marathon
Evening  before , good meal , pasta/rice or sweet potato base, I always eat chicken and vegetables now, rather than going for some massive pasta meal, that leaves me feeling bloated and potentially changing my normally routine bowel movements, and then making me anxious about where I'm going to "go" if you see what I mean.
Race Day
  • 6.30 Breakfast - Porridge
  • 7.30 eat flapjack or banana on way to race  (not all at once)
  • 9.00 Race starts   - aim to have a bite of flapjack every half an hour, starting at 30 minutes, if this is just before a water station then thats great timing,   doing London Marathon I would site a water station sign, have a bite, wash it down  with some water.
  • Continue this every 20-30 minutes, flapjack bite+ fluid
  • Faster runners, will often use gels in that last hour.
I really want to emphasise 2 things
  1. Everyone has individual tastes and preferences and our bodies that don't always conform to what the mind is telling them, so best to find out what suits your body?
  2. Try the fuelling strategy out in your training, try and mimic in your weekend long runs, exactly what you plan to do in the race, this way, there wil be one less thing on the day for you to be anxious about, and you having done the training, considered your fuel and practised with your kit you will be starting the race with a much higher level of confidence and positive mental attitude.
Hope that helps Lucy?  please shout up with any questions
Good luck with your Marathon Adventure.

best wishes
Tim
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